teen girl wearing face mask in doctor's office during sports physical


Get a head start on sport physicals

Is your kid geared up for game time? With the school year and sports season approaching, now is a good time to help prepare your young athlete for a successful and injury-free season. Ask your child's school about its policy on sports physicals and schedule your child’s sports physical now to avoid a last-minute rush for appointments.

What's the difference between a sports physical and a normal physical?

A sports physical is not as complete as an annual physical, but it can be scheduled at the same time with your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor. Be sure to let the clinic scheduler know you also need a sports physical when you schedule your child’s annual physical. A comprehensive annual physical is especially vital if your child has been diagnosed with asthma, a heart condition, diabetes, epilepsy or other diagnosis that may limit his or her sports participation.

What happens during a sports physical?

During a sports physical, I typically look at a child’s health history, including major illnesses, surgeries and past injuries such as concussions and broken bones. I will also ask about your son or daughter’s heart health and your family’s heart health history. For example, I want to know if your child has ever felt lightheaded, short of breath or chest tightness during exercise.

A parent or guardian must be present during physicals with kids under age 18. The sports physical exam will include gathering your child’s height, weight, blood pressure and pulse, and check his or her heart, lungs, stomach, ears, nose and throat.

What else do I need to bring to my child's sports physical?

You can download a copy of the Minnesota High School League’s Sports Qualifying Physical Examination Clearance Form at mshsl.org. Fill out the top and physical history sections of the form, and bring it with you to the sports physical appointment. Your pediatrician or primary care doctor should complete the rest. Turn in the completed form to your school.



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